It's been 27 years since a Sequim couple opened their garage to community food donations and free pick-ups, and a new sign in front of the food bank honors their commitment.
Nina and Bill Fatherson have stopped at nothing to make sure families in the Sequim area are fed, regardless of their income.
When the Sequim Food Bank board of directors heard a presentation not only to erect a new sign for the building but also a new sign dedicating the complex to the Fathersons, they gave unanimous approval.
"The food bank really needed a new sign in general because the last one blew down more than a year ago," said board president Stephen Rosales.
"So it made sense to me to honor the couple and let future generations know they started this whole thing in their garage to make sure people didn't go hungry."
The Fathersons have taken but one vacation since starting the food bank. While using their own truck for pick-ups and deliveries, they clocked about 400,000 miles on the odometer before having a new truck donated to the operation.
"That truck made a huge difference in the food bank's ability to serve the community and took a huge load off an older truck that needed replacement," Nina said, adding she was thankful for the donation.
Rosales is trying to gather funds to make sure the new sign isn't a financial burden on the food bank either.
"Since the sign Tom Glore bought was destroyed by the wind, we've had people searching out the food bank unsure of its location," said Nina.
"We've had an interesting journey to get where we are today. This location is just great for what we need and central to who we serve."
The food bank started in a garage, moved up to a retired chicken coop and eventually made its way into the 144 W. Alder St. complex where it now is.
Along with the increase in the size of its building, the food bank's patronage has grown.
"Before Thanksgiving of last year we averaged about 55 people in a day and now we're up to around 76," Nina said.
"Our volunteers are great. I couldn't ask for better people," she added, indicating they are often staying later due to a higher volume of people coming in for food.
The food bank is open two weekdays for three hours each day. Volunteers said the line of those waiting to get food is beginning to grow as the country heads further and further into an economic slump.
"I've been thinking a third day of service would be a good idea," said Rosales, indicating many who take food are looking for work on weekdays.
"It's ultimately for the board to decide, but I think with the economy the way it is we should definitely discuss the option."
Rosales said he has volunteers lined up to cover the extra day of service.
To volunteer at the food bank or to learn more about the organization, call 683-1205. For those unable to make regular food bank hours, contact the organization or Rosales at 461-6038.
Reach Evan McLean at
The Sequim Gazette is located at 147 W. Washington Street in Sequim.
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